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LiveServer

Running ASP in Liveserver


There have been a number of requests on the Reddot google group recently about running ASP pages inside Liveserver. The only responses that I’ve seen are along the lines of “it’s not possible, you’ll need to publish the pages out somewhere else”. Well… I’m glad to say there is a way to simply publish pages into Liveserver and forget about it.

This would also work for any other languages that Tomcat doesn’t support, such as Cold Fusion or PHP and any other related web servers.¬†For this example I’m going to stick to the one I know ASP/IIS, I’m sure you can work out the tiny changes necessary for your language of choice :)

The downside? There’s an additional license cost. Oh what a surprise! The module you are looking for in your license agreement is the Application Portal module.

Assuming you have this, we can proceed with the setup.

Step 1 – Create the IIS site

Before we start with the Liveserver configuration, or even adding some ASP into our templates, we need to set up an IIS project that Liveserver can use to temporarily store the ASP. To save us some work we’re going to use one site for every project, but it’s up to you if you want to split out the temporary files by project.

Make sure that this location allows Reddot read/write access and that the IIS site is running ASP, otherwise you’re not going to get very far!

For this example I’m going to create the folder c:inetpubwwwrootLsTemp, which can be accessed through http://[servername]/LsTemp

Make a note of the server name and folder name as you’re going to need those in a sec.

Step 2 – Create a Portal Connector

  1. Log in to Liveserver
  2. Go to Administer Reddot Liveserver > Connectors > Application Portal > Administer
  3. Click New
  4. Give it a name. Make sure you’ve not got any spaces in the name. Apparently it can cause issues, so beware.
  5. Tick the Active ticky box. It won’t work without this
  6. The Protocol field will remain as http, but you can use https if you need to.
  7. Host Name will be your server; as we’re on the same server we can safely use Localhost here
  8. Port we can leave blank as we’re running on the default port of 80
  9. Start Path. This will be the folder name we created in Step 1, so we’re going to enter LsTemp here
  10. The rest of this form we can leave as default. Switch to the Standard Filter screen from the left menu.
  11. In the Standard Filter screen we want to untick all the options as we want to keep all the links as they are. These options are so that you can connect to external applications… as we’re not doing that we don’t need them.
  12. We are now done with the Portal Connector. Hit Apply and cancel out. You’ll now see your nice new connector in the available list.
  13. Hit Main Menu to go back to the homepage

Step 3 – Setting up the Liveserver project

  1. Select your project form the list
  2. We need to create a rule for External Dynamics, so we now need to go to Project > Rules > Administer Rules for External Dynamics
  3. You’ll see an empty list where we want to see our rule, so click New
  4. Give this a name. As with the Portal rule, try and avoid spaces.
  5. Depending what you want to do with your pages, you may want to try reading up on the Rules dropdown in the documentation, but we’re going to go for the last option, After Replacing Placeholders, to make sure that Liveserver has filled in project names and URLs
  6. Tick Active so this rule works.
  7. Click the Select button next to Connector and pick your new rule from Step 2.
  8. Expand Constraints in the left menu and click on Content Names
  9. Click the little yellow star to create a new rule
  10. Set your Content Name Contains field to be .asp and hit Apply
  11. Finally we need to visit the Publication Path screen form the left menu
  12. The Publication Path will be the folder you’re dumping the temporary files into. In our case this is c:inetpubwwwrootLsTemp
  13. Set the Prefix to something related to this site, so you know where the temp files are coming from.
  14. The default separator can be left
  15. Filename Extension should be set to .asp (or whatever your extension will be)
  16. Hit apply and we’re done here.

Step 4 – Adding some ASP

The last stage is to add some asp to your CMS project and try publishing it out. One thing to note here… make sure you’re not pre-executing your ASP code, otherwise it’ll never work, no matter how accurately you set up Liveserver!

Once you’ve added the ASP and set the page extension to be .asp, you can now publish your pages into the Liveserver project you configured in Step 3.

So what’s all that doing?

When we’re browsing through the Liveserver project, whenever you attempt to access a file with .asp as it’s extension, our Rule form step 3 kicks in. This creates a temporary copy of the file out in IIS, lets IIS do it’s magic rendering the ASP parts of the page, and then sucks the output back into Liveserver to finish the magic there. If you’ve set it up correctly you’ll never know that anything ever went outside of Liveserver.

I would, however, suggest you try and limit the number of rules that you use as it does put extra load onto the server.

References

There are two Liveserver documents that you’re going to want access to. One is Liveserver Connectors and the other is Liveserver Projects Content.

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About the author:

Paul Smith Paul lives in sunny England and is now technical consultant for the new, UK based branch of ecomplexx. Apart from web stuff, Paul is also interested in photography and collecting/listening to music and is never seen without his beloved ipod!

Discussion

7 comments for “Running ASP in Liveserver”

  1. If you can get access or ask UK support to send this article from the US community site. There is some useful info there.
    http://www.reddotcommunity.com/rde/1115_673.htm

    Posted by Tim | December 4, 2008, 7:23 pm
  2. Thank you, I’ll give UK support a call next time I”m in the office

    Posted by Paul Smith | December 7, 2008, 5:19 pm
  3. Thank’s, your articles very useful for us.

    Posted by mat cod | December 14, 2008, 4:44 am
  4. Hi Paul,

    That’s really cool article and it is very useful.

    But, unfortulately we don’t have Live Server connector module, but we still want to use the ASP’s for some functionality, especially to interact with the database.

    Let me know is there any other way to achive the same.

    Posted by Ramana | January 10, 2009, 3:50 am
  5. The only way you could do that is to pull those specific pages, or probably just the interactive parts, out of liveserver.

    Once the ASP is out of liveserver and sitting in IIS, you could place iframes into your Liveserver pages to pull the interactive content back in.

    Not the most elegant solution, but probably one of the only ones available without the connector.

    Posted by Paul Smith | January 13, 2009, 10:47 am
  6. Hi Paul

    That sure is a cool blog.
    Ill be really happy if you could guide me on how to create the aspx pages in the CMS without the .
    Could you explain the same in steps, as you have in this blog?

    Posted by Aishwarya | May 15, 2009, 8:45 am
  7. Has anybody worked out how to do this with asp.net content, not sure it is possible just keep getting 500 errors but would be nice.

    Posted by Jason | December 4, 2009, 5:02 am

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